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Represented by Erin Murphy

Erin Murphy Literary Agency, Inc.
824 Roosevelt Trail #290
Windham, ME 04062

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Book du jour: The Unnaturalists

by Tiffany Trent 

The Sphinx stares at me from her plinth.

A trend: my book reviews have been getting shorter, lately. This does not reflect on the books’ fine qualities, since I only post about novels I’ve enjoyed. It occurs to me that this blog feature is really meant to remind myself what truly excellent and fun books are out there. 

So, The Unnaturalists: mythical creatures, steampunk esthetic, plucky characters, lots of action and adventure. And another book on the way. Yay!


Book du jour: Seraphina

by Rachel Hartman    

At the center of the cathedral stood a model of Heaven called the Golden House.

This is a terrific fantasy novel about dragons and humans and secrets and music. Original, funny, poignant. What more do you need to know? Go read it.


Book du jour: Beast

Now up at the Los Angeles Review of Books site: my contribution to the "Beauty and the Beast" entries, a review of Donna Jo Napoli's novel Beast. Aimee Bender has an essay on the tale, and Merrie Haskell contributes a review of Robin McKinley's Beauty, an all-time favorite.

Book du jour: Raven Boys

by Maggie Stiefvater  

It was freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrived.

A couple of great reads in a row. Unlike Vessel, this one’s set squarely in a contemporary scene, but with equally otherworldly goings-on. Blue Sargent , the only non-psychic in her family, gets mixed up with four angst-y students from the posh nearby boarding school Aglionby. One of these “Raven Boys” is looking for a legendary Welsh king’s final resting place. Or stasis-place. He’s ancient, but reputedly waiting to be awoken to grant a favor.

I really enjoyed how expertly the novel’s scenes are crafted so that the reader consistently has more information than the characters. There are no “hey, wait a minute!” surprises. Information is layered deftly, priming us for each new revelation. Crisply delineated characters, lovely writing, a contemptible villain, and plenty of emotion. Glad to hear there’ll be four books in the series: there are lots of loose threads and interesting paths still to explore.


Book du jour: Vessel

by Sarah Beth Durst

On the day she was to die, Liyana walked out of her family’s tent to see the dawn.

I love when fantasy authors make a metaphor literally true, then play with the results. In this case, desert dweller Liyana has been training for years to be “possessed” by her clan’s patron goddess. But what if the ritual takes place and the goddess doesn’t come? Or does come, when the “vessel” is not so ready to surrender herself?

This novel sets up tough choices for the heroine, and she grows beautifully to deal with the results. An interesting desert culture, romance, humor, lots of twisty plot turns—another definite keeper from Sarah Beth Durst.